Some characteristics of oil palm
1. Male and female flowers
Generally, it takes 33 to 34 months for palms to grow before they enter the flowering period. Before that, there is no difference between females and males. Gender occurs 20 months before the flowering period. Depending on the environmental conditions, there is only a small difference in time in different regions. Many factors affect gender differences. When the flowering period runs through the entire growth process, some influencing factors can cause miscarriage. The sex ratio, or the percentage of female flowers to the total number of flowers, is important.
This determines the potential number of fruits, which is the main factor determining the yield. Gender is affected by various environmental changes, especially climate and nutrients. In countries with long dry seasons, the monthly gender change is also significant. Severe drought can cause the death of almost all flower buds, leading to months of harvest failure.
Both male and female flowers originate from leaf axils. They grow on the same palm at the same time, and the palm is hermaphroditic, but generally they can not find complete female flowers and male flowers on the same palm at the same time.
The male flower is composed of many finger-like protrusions or spikes, each of which is 12-20 cm long and protrudes from the central petiole. There are 600-1200 tiny yellow flowers per ear, with a distinctive taste. Depending on age, each single flower has 25-50 grams of pollen.
The female flower is a fleshy bud, 24-45 cm long. Flower spikes and number vary with age and region. Before the flowering period, there is a significant increase in temperature from 5-10 degrees, which is accompanied by more output in the morning and evening.
2. The effect of fertilizer
Fertilizer occupies most of the cost budget, but the use of fertilizer can bring huge returns to production. The rational use of fertilizers largely depends on the feedback of production benefits, the output value of palms and the consumption of fertilizers. The demand for fertilizers and the output value of the corresponding products vary greatly from region to region, mainly due to the impact of environmental factors on yield. The influence of weather factors is the most obvious, including sunshine and moisture, the soft ventilation and drainage of the soil, nutrients, stress resistance and other a series of agricultural standards. Excluding the effect of fertilizer on yield, not only will the yield and fruit weight of palm be reduced, but the oil yield of palm will also be reduced. The results showed that, except for other changing factors, even for oil palm of the same species, the yield is also affected by growth age, rainfall, and soil composition.
A large number of experimental results show that the growth of oil palm has no special requirements for nitrogen fertilizer, except in the immature period, which has become a major feature of oil palm growth.
Potassium fertilizer can promote the growth of oil palm and increase yield. After potassium fertilizer is applied, the size and number of fruits will increase. The amount of potassium fertilizer applied is related to the growth period of the palm.
The conditions of fertilization and the types of fertilizers are too complicated. This is just a brief introduction to the yield gap between fertilization and no fertilization in a year. In fact, if you do not fertilize for a long time, the impact will be even greater.
3. The impact of rainfall
Rainfall distribution is an important factor. There are three main periods when oil palms are particularly sensitive to water stress: 33 to 30 months, 24 to 19 months and 13 to 17 months prior to harvest, and especially at 32, 21 and 10 months prior to harvest. The main water stress effect related to yield is the effect on inflorescence primordia, focusing on male during sex differentiation and on abortion during flowering exposure, which results in either absence of male or female inflorescences in leaf axils. At the same time, female inflorescences appear to be more frequently aborted than male inflorescences before flowering, and the former may be significantly less dominant than the latter. It should be noted that planting habits can also cause water stress. Root pruning is a method to promote male inflorescence production. This has to do with a lack of roots that leads to stomatal closure. Similarly, chronic diseases of roots that prevent water absorption can prompt the production of large male inflorescences, a hallmark of symptoms of the disease.
In short, insufficient moisture will affect production in the following main ways:
(1) Severe water insufficiency caused male and female inflorescence abortion about four months before flowering, resulting in reduced crops 10 months after the stress period, which is indicated by empty leaf axils.
(2) In the period of sex differentiation of inflorescence primitive cells, the physiological stress caused by some reason will promote the formation of a larger number of male inflorescences, which will affect the yield after about 26 months.
(3) In a particularly severe water stress period, newly developed inflorescences will be aborted, and the developing fruit branches will wither and die.
(4) There are some statistics that prove that insufficient moisture will have an adverse effect on yield after three years.
The serious production cuts in Malaysia and Indonesia in 2016 were mainly due to the drought caused by the strong El Niño weather in 2015.
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